Nst Leadership Change Prompts Concerns Of Political Interference


 


 A change in leadership at New Straits Times (NST) has raised concerns of alleged political interference.
This is after a report alleging that Umno leaders had a hand in NST - a Media Prima subsidiary - replacing its group editor Ahmad Lokman Mansor.
Former Media Prima chairperson Johan Jaafar said removing Lokman was unacceptable.
“I find it totally unacceptable that an editor who is helping to resurrect the NST is facing the axe. 
“I stand by Lokman for his audacity to push the envelope. The NST is a more palatable newspaper today thanks to his work,” he said in a statement today.
While he did not name Umno, Johan said interference from any political party in the appointment of editors was concerning.
This is as the dynamics of the media business have changed, and the press must be allowed to operate freely and fairly, he said.
NST announced in a statement today that veteran journalist Farah Naz Karim would be taking over as group editor effective this Thursday (Sept 15).
Farrah is currently serving as executive producer for current affairs programmes at Media Prima.
The paper’s group managing editor Mustapha Kamil Mohd said that NST would continue to make changes, including in its leadership, to “keep up with rapid advances and increasing competition in the media industry”.
He also said that NST has strived to be politically independent.
“As a responsible English daily, NST has in recent years strived to operate independently of any outsider influences, including political influence. 
“As a member of a public-listed company, the group is governed by strict corporate governance and transparency, and an able board of directors,” Mustapha said.
Umno leaders allegedly involved
Earlier, The Vibes - citing sources - reported that the Umno leaders Johari Abdul Ghani and Ab Rauf Yusoh had a hand in Lokman’s removal.
The report said Rauf had allegedly complained to Johari - who is the second-largest shareholder in Media Prima - that NST under Lokman was not protecting Umno’s interests.
NST editorials which were supportive of the judiciary in light of the jailing of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak were reportedly cited as an example.
The report also stated that NST's staff was planning a petition to urge Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to abort the move to remove Lokman.
Ismail Sabri had recently assured that the media would remain free without interference.
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, commenting on the developments at NST, also called on the prime minister to keep his word.
“Ismail Sabri’s guarantee of press freedom only last week had been made a total mockery by this NST action.
“Is he capable of doing anything to ensure that his words matter?” he said in a statement. - Mkini


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